3 Critical Roles in a Promotional Products Distributorship: The Architect, the Sales Driver, and the Nurturer (The Path to $10 Million, Part 2)


Reading time: 3 minutesHow do you get from $500,000 to $1 million in sales? How do you grow from $1 million to $3 million? What does it take to get to $10 million? This is the focus of our new series entitled, “The Path to $10 Million.” Our purpose is to provide insights for your entrepreneurial journey by sharing articles, tips, interviews, and a plan on how you can get to your first $10 million in sales. Our last article discussed working within your strengths, today's article helps clarify the roles that you can fulfill in your business to lead your organization to success. There’s a false notion in our industry that the role of a salesperson is more critical than that of a production person or an inside sales rep: nothing could be further from the truth. The industry is too intricate and complex to consider any one role indispensable. Lose a critical support person, and you’ll quickly get a crash course in teamwork!Moreover, in any business, there are internal leaders and external leaders. External leaders lead by title, they lead the organization because that's their job (CEO, Director, Manager). But there are internal leaders as well, people who lead from within. The leadership they provide might not be specified on their business card, but they are influencers, change agents, and positive forces for the future of the business.The first post in our Path to $10 Million series focused on identifying your unique value to the business. Today's article helps define a few of the critical roles in virtually every promotional company regardless of their stage of growth. These roles can lead to your own personal fulfillment (discovering which role you prefer) as well as provide a guide for ensuring that you have key team members in these positions as you grow.There are three critical roles in the promotional products industry:

The Architect, the Driver, and the Nurturer: Which role are you?

Personality Traits
Passions (what they love)
Work Values
compassionate, methodical, conscientious
teamwork, symmetry, business process, helping others thrive
efficiency, exactitude, optimum workflow
Sales Driver
driven, ambitious, zealous
selling, prospecting, closing, new opportunities
winning, exceeding expectations, growth
positive, responsive, thorough, detail-oriented
growing sales through relationship, being the hero, making people happy
positive feedback, consistency, happy customers
  1. The architect loves business-design. Loves putting together a team to make one successful entity. The architect thrives on symmetry, on business process, on placing people in fulfilling roles, and on the unity of success. The architect is compassionate, methodical, and conscientious and values efficiency, exactitude, and optimum workflow.
  2. The sales driver loves winning. Loves the art of the deal and all aspects of selling: prospecting, closing, and creating successful client relationships. The sales driver is the hunter. They are obsessed with success and exceeding goals and are ambitious, zealous, and passionate about unlocking the next level. They thrive on growth, goals, and getting it done.
  3. The nurturer loves to please: To nurture means to “help develop, help grow.” The nurturer is the farmer. Someone who loves the client relationship. They love being the hero to their customer and making their customer happy. They enjoy growing sales through happy customers. They are positive, responsive, thorough, and excellent at details. They thrive on positive customer feedback and excel at turn-around opportunities. The nurturers are the backbone of this industry.
Knowing your role can help you build a team that is well balanced and complimentary, for example:
  • If you are a sales driver and you excel at business development, you should build an inside team that can focus on client nurturing while you focus on sales and prospecting (ensuring you don’t lose valuable clients while you turn your attention toward new opportunities).
  • If you are a nurturer, you should recruit business development reps who focus on prospecting and bringing in new business. This is one of the most critical aspects of your business: ensuring you have enough new business coming in (as the business will always cycle).
  • If you are an architect you might need both nurturers and a sales drivers on your team, however, depending on your size, you might not yet have the sales volume to affordably hire both. In this case, typically, most architects would serve well in a nurturing role until the business grows to support all three roles.
Coach Phil Jackson, winner of eleven NBA titles, knows the power that each unique role plays on a team, he once said that "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." The sales driver, the nurturer, and the architect are critical and interdependent roles that provide a foundation for a strong distributorship. Understanding the three critical roles not only helps you recruit and train the right people for the right position but can provide clarity around which role you choose as a leader.
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